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May 16, 2014

World's first earthquake-proof table


Back story here.

May 16, 2014 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Vintage Japanese Tin Bird Brooch


I'm old enough to remember when "Made in Japan" was synonymous with cheap and cheesy.

That was before the rise of Sony and the phrase "It's a Sony" guaranteed you were getting the very best electronics in the world.

But I digress.

From the Tin Bird Brooch website:



Japanese tin bird brooches from 1950s!

They are new old stock, means that they are new.

Please pick your choice from a - j (below).


Would you love to have a little bird on your curtain or tote bag?

You will get ONE (1) bird.

Each of them has a different size.


Various heights from 3.5-5cm.


Wait a sec... what's that music I'm hearing?



May 16, 2014 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Corona Atlas of the Middle East Unveils Lost Ancient Cities


Below, excerpts from Dan Vergano's April 25 National Geographic story.

The 1961 satellite photo above shows Tell Rifaat in northwest Syria, now completely surrounded by a modern town.

Below, the home page of the Corona Atlas.

Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 2.41.40 PM


A study of Cold War spy-satellite photos has tripled the number of known archaeological sites across the Middle East, revealing thousands of ancient cities, roads, canals, and other ruins.

In recent decades archaeologists have often used declassified satellite images to spot archaeological sites in Iraq, Turkey, and Syria.

But the new Corona Atlas of the Middle East… moves spy-satellite science to a new level. Surveying land from Egypt to Iran — and encompassing the Fertile Crescent, the renowned cradle of civilization and location of some of humanity's earliest cities — the atlas reveals numerous sites that had been lost to history.

"Some of these sites are gigantic, and they were completely unknown," says atlas-team archaeologist Jesse Casana of the University of Arkansas, who presented the results. "We can see all kinds of things — ancient roads and canals. The images provide a very comprehensive picture."

The team had started with a list of roughly 4,500 known archaeological sites across the Middle East, says Casana. The spy-satellite images revealed another 10,000 that had previously been unknown.

The largest sites, in Syria and Turkey, are most likely Bronze Age cities, he says, and include ruined walls and citadels. Two of them cover more than 123 acres (50 hectares).

But, says Casana, "it's not just new places to excavate. We have a real way with all these sites to look across the whole Middle East and see how it was connected."

The new Middle East atlas reflects both the opportunities and challenges facing archaeologists, who must handle ever larger amounts of data from excavation sites and entire regions, says information-science scholar Eric Kansa of the Alexandria Archive Institute in San Francisco, who spoke at the meeting. "This is big data," Kansa says. "We have the opportunity to really blow up the scale of our efforts in archaeology."

The end of the Cold War led to the public release of Corona spy-satellite images by U.S. defense officials almost two decades ago. The spy satellite made images from 1960 to 1972, and the atlas samples only some of the 188,000 images taken from 1967 to 1972 by the last generation of the satellites. The images of the Earth's surface, intended to expose Soviet missile bases and military camps, had a resolution of two meters (6.6 feet).

Current imaging satellites, such as the privately owned DigitalGlobe based in Longmont, Colorado, return better resolution images, but "they can't go back in time," says Casana.

The Corona images, he explains, were made before cities such as Mosul in Iraq and Amman in Jordan overran the many archaeological sites near them. Dams have also flooded river valleys, covering many other archaeological sites. As cities grew, the industrial farming and irrigation that supported them grew too, obscuring roads and sites clearly visible in the spy-satellite images.

The mapping team… set up their site to allow you to look at the 1960s images of a given location side by side with views of it today.

Corona satellites photographed the Earth in swaths 120 miles (193 kilometers) long by 10 miles (16 kilometers) wide. Film strips were delivered from space inside parachute-equipped buckets, and the film's stretched and distorted views of the Earth required special optics to sort out. The existence of the photographs was officially kept secret until 1992.

Much of the atlas team's work has involved tying landmarks in the Corona images, purchased from the U.S. Geological Survey, to mapped landmarks in modern-day images. The landmarks also helped computers remove distortions in the original spy-satellite images.

"We don't want to stop here," Casana says. Many of the Corona images cover other areas of great interest to archaeologists, including Africa and China.

"Corona is amazing," he says. "We really have coverage from almost everywhere."


[via Marianne Kandel]

May 16, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Giant Robot Slippers with Sound


From The Green Head: "These high-tech bootie-style slippers transform you into a partial cyborg as each step you take generates a terrifying mechanical "Vrrr/Clank" noise. They may look like they're constructed from exotic metals in some top secret robotics research lab, but they're actually made from comfy polyester fabric with no-slip dots underneath."


May 16, 2014 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Winston Churchill's daily routine


From Daily Routines:


He awoke about 7:30 a.m. and remained in bed for a substantial breakfast and reading of mail and all the national newspapers. For the next couple of hours, still in bed, he worked, dictating to his secretaries.

At 11:00 a.m., he arose, bathed, and perhaps took a walk around the garden, and took a weak whisky and soda to his study.

At 1:00 p.m. he joined guests and family for a three-course lunch. Clementine drank claret, Winston champagne, preferable Pol Roger served at a specific temperature, port brandy and cigars. When lunch ended, about 3:30 p.m. he returned to his study to work, or supervised work on his estate, or played cards or backgammon with Clementine.

At 5:00 p.m., after another weak whisky and soda, he went to bed for an hour and a half. He said this siesta, a habit gained in Cuba, allowed him to work 1 1/2 days in every 24 hours. At 6:30 p.m. he awoke, bathed again, and dressed for dinner at 8:00 p.m.

Dinner was the focal point and highlight of Churchill's day. Table talk, dominated by Churchill, was as important as the meal. Sometimes, depending on the company, drinks and cigars extended the event well past midnight. The guests retired, Churchill returned to his study for another hour or so of work.


[via The Churchill Centre, Eric Henning, and Cultural Offering]

May 16, 2014 at 04:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Ninja and Pirate Sword Corn Skewers


Plastic handles


with stainless steel pins.


Set of 4 pair (2 pirate swords, 2 ninja swords):


$7 (corn not included).


[via The Green Head]

May 16, 2014 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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